An emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly has adopted an Arab-sponsored resolution calling for greater protection for Palestinians and deploring use of “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” force by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians, particularly in Gaza.
The resolution was adopted on Wednesday (Thursday in Pakistan) after getting 120 votes in favour, eight against and with 45 abstentions.
The emergency session of the 193-member assembly came after weeks of violence along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians participated in the “Great March of Return” protests beginning at the end of March. More than 120 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli forces during the protests against Israel’s years-long blockade of the enclave. No Israeli was killed.
The resolution was presented by Algeria and Turkey on behalf of the Arab and Muslim countries.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley claimed the resolution was “one-sided” and accused Arab countries of trying to score political points at home by seeking to condemn Israel at the United Nations.
“For some, attacking Israel is their favourite political sport. That’s why we are here today,” Haley told the assembly.
An amendment presented by the United States that condemned Hamas for “inciting violence” along the border with Gaza failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed for adoption.
Arab countries backing the measure turned to the General Assembly after the United States used its veto in the Security Council to block the resolution on June 1. Unlike the Security Council, resolutions adopted by the assembly are non-binding and there is no veto.
Task for UN chief resolution tasks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with the drafting of proposals for an “international protection mechanism” for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, adds AFP.
These could range from setting up an observer mission to a full-blown peacekeeping force, but action on any option would require backing from the Security Council, where the United States has veto power.
“We are asking for a simple thing,” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour told the assembly. “We want our civilian population to be protected.